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Goh, Christine Chuen Meng
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Despite the significance of teachers’ cognitions on their pedagogical actions, the domain of speaking has been less understood due to a paucity of research. Developing young learners’ abilities to conceptualise, formulate and articulate their ideas through accurate and fluent speech enables them to convey meaning effectively. However, teachers’ inadequate knowledge and examination washback have been observed to limit the systematic teaching of oral English in class.

The present study was an attempt to address this gap in understanding teachers’ cognitions for oral instruction. This collective case study examined the beliefs, embodied knowledge and practices of three experienced teachers identified for their expertise in the instruction of young bilingual learners. Data from almost a year of semi-structured interviews and classroom observations in Singapore’s primary schools was analysed in a comprehensive framework incorporating the elements and processes of language teachers’ cognitions (Borg, 2006) and principles for teaching of speaking (Goh and Burns, 2012).

Teachers’ articulations and enacted classroom practices surfaced similarities as well as differences in their beliefs and embodied knowledge, and the underlying factors. Their conceptions about the teaching and learning of oral English, their learners and themselves directed them to tap their amalgamated theoretical and practical knowledge of content, pedagogy, students, metacognition and management and organisation to carry out explicit teaching on the knowledge, skills and strategies for speaking. This embodied knowledge in turn entrenched their beliefs about the role of speaking in students’ holistic development. Teachers’ active engagement of their beliefs and embodied knowledge enhanced their capacities to raise their learners’ speaking quality.

This research seeks to provide a nuanced understanding of the nature and interactions of teachers’ beliefs, embodied knowledge and practices. It aims to contribute theoretical propositions on the factors mediating expertise in the teaching of speaking. The study’s focus on young learners adds to the field to inform teacher education for oracy instruction.
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PE1074.8 Sab
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Appears in Collections:Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

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